What’s your favorite science fiction use of nanotechnology? Are you a fan of the Terminator, or the Borg from Star Trek, that imitate humans or assimilate them? Or are you fascinated by the replicators in Stargate:SG1, which can self-assemble, self-replicate and take the form of anything from space ships and buildings, to machinery, to humanoid bodies?
Whatever you find most interesting, the constant is that nanotechnology is one of our favorite sci-fi technologies. What’s even cooler is that, like many technologies, nanotech is quickly becoming more “science” and less “fiction.” While we’re not at the point of humanoid replicators or self-assembling vehicles just yet, there are a lot of potential application for nanotechnology to improve some of the most ambitious human endeavours—such as space exploration.
Technology at the Nanoscale
What is nanotech exactly? Short answer, it’s technology that operates at the nanoscale. One nanometer (nm) is measured at one billionth (10-9) of a meter, and the convention is to assign the term “nanotechnology” to technology that operates on the scale of 1 to 100 nm. The 1 nm bottom limit is due to the size of atoms, which nanotech needs to manipulate, while the upper limit is largely arbitrary as the size where nanoscale phenomena become apparent and useable by a nano device.
Nanotechnology features two primary approaches, which are “bottom up” where materials or devices are self-assembled from molecular components, and “top down” where nanoscale objects are constructed by micro-scale and macro-scale devices. Both methods show potential for the development of future nanomaterials and nanodevices capable of exhibiting specific properties or being programmed to perform tasks and operate autonomously.
With the potential inherent in nanotechnology, it’s easy to see why nanoengineering and nanotechnology research are booming, and a particular focus is on exploring space: how to get there, how to protect space travellers, and where they will live when they arrive on distant planets.
Image Credit: Youtube
News This Week
Nearly a third of physicians will be sued at least once in their careers — most commonly for an error in diagnosis. Medical errors are also the third-leading cause of death in the United [...]
Inventors and scientists have been continuously working towards reducing the size of technological components. Room-sized computers to laptops that are slimmer than a pane of glass? It’s done. Huge bulky telephones to smartphones that [...]
You have witnessed a variety of nano-devices that were designed for tasks including delivering medicines within the body. All of them used to move in a variety of ways. However, the latest nano-device is [...]
Netra Rajesh is an undergraduate Engineering Science student specializing in Biomedical Systems Engineering. She is currently on her Professional Experience Year (PEY) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where her research lies at the [...]
Nearly half of the companies in Europe that call themselves AI start-ups don't in fact use artificial intelligence, a new report found. The research, published Tuesday by London-based venture capital firm MMC Ventures, found [...]
A new quantum sensor developed by researchers at the University of Waterloo's Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) has proven it can outperform existing technologies and promises significant advancements in long-range 3D imaging and monitoring [...]
Summary: Researchers use nanotech to enhance vision in mice, enabling them to see infrared light as well as visible light. Source: Cell Press. Mice with vision enhanced by nanotechnology were able to see infrared [...]
Immune Aspects of Biopharmaceuticals and Nanomedicines Available from CRC Press 1st Edition Raj Bawa, Janos Szebeni, Thomas J Webster, Gerald F. Audette The enormous advances in the immunology of biotherapeutics and nanomedicines in the [...]
Artificial Intelligence - Ethics, Governance and Policy Challenges by Andrea Renda and CEPS Think Tank released. About the report: CEPS is launching a Task Force to try to bring back the AI debate to [...]
The Nanofacturing consortium has worked on a pan-European nanopharmaceutical project to develop new manufacturing methods and improve supply chain co-ordination to advance treatments for rare cancers, autoimmune diseases and viral infections. The Nanofacturing collaboration [...]
You know those little motes or floaters you that you sometimes see moving in your vision? Well, someday very soon, those could be robots. An international team of medical researchers has unveiled a new [...]
Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, a partner in the German Center for Lung Research, have presented a new imaging method in the scientific journal ACS Nano ("Three-Dimensional Quantitative Co-Mapping of Pulmonary Morphology and [...]